Rock n Roll may or may not never die, but Frank Zappa will live forever in taxonomic glory.

Frank Zappa will live forever in the realm of the Linnaean Binomial, the system of naming species of things. Not just one species ... there are already six Zappa-creatures.

1. The Gene: actually, a family of five genes running from ZapA to ZapE. And I think he'd be delighted to be so closely linked, posthumously (even post-humorously) to the mechanics of mutation.

2. The Fish: Zappa confluentus. Found in 1978 on the exposed mud flats of the Fly River about 35 miles or so upriver from Toro Pass, Papua New Guinea, hundreds of fish, flopping around on their side -- gobies, but an undiscovered species.

3. The Jellyfish: Phialella zappai. It was identified and named by Ferdinando ("Nando") Boero, jellyfish expert and Zappa fan from Genova (Genoa), Italy. Nando secured a grant in 1982 to study at the Bodega Marine Biology Lab of what is now UC Davis. He had and ulterior motive and a plan. The motive? To meet Frank Zappa. The plan?

"My strategy was a simple one:
I would find some new species for sure and
I would have to give them a name.
I would dedicate one of them to FZ.
I would tell him about it.
He would invite me for a visit."

He found one, wrote to FZ, told him he'd like to name a species of jellyfish after him, and received a reply from Gail Zappa who said:
"Frank said 'There is nothing I'd like better than having a jellyfish named after me. ' "

They met, became friends, and the rest is taxonomic history.

4. The Spider: Pachygnatha zappa. For all the right reasons but also, check out the second illustration on the link page, and note the dark grey mark on the ventral side of the abdomen of the female of the species. Hi, Frank.

5. The Planet: (3834) Zappafrank = 1980 JE -- Well, it's not a HUGE planet, out there in our asteroid belt, only about 6 - 13 km across, but hey, that's a nice piece of property, larger even than Paul McCartney's farm.

6. The Mollusc: (Amauratoma zappa) Well, this bivalve seems to have temporarily buried itself in the mud, disappeared from sight as these fellows are wont to do. But when it re-emerges, you can be sure it will flap its shells for Frank.


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